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Visions of angels and protection during WW1

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Principled
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A hundred years ago today, on the 23rd August 1914, the phenomenon that has been called the "Angels of Mons" appeared on the battlefields of Mons.

What was called “The Great War” had begun less than three weeks earlier, on the 4th of August and the lightly-armed British Expeditionary Force were sent to France. Towards the end of August, they were trapped near the Belgian town of Mons, by a superior force of the German Army, three times their size. The newspapers at home had already prepared their headlines for the news of certain defeat. There were no reserves, the troops were overwhelmed and the situation appeared utterly hopeless.

A National Day of Prayer was called back at home. Churches and other holy places were open all day and there was a steady stream of visitors praying for deliverance. On August 23rd 1914, according to many accounts given by soldiers and officers on both sides, the Germans just laid down their arms and fled, their horses reared up and wouldn't go further after seeing white horses with white soldiers advancing towards them, (there are cases like that in the Bible - surely the best "warfare"!)

French soldiers reported seeing Joan of Arc, the Irish saw St Michael, others saw a bright shining light with luminous beings, a cross in the sky, a shining cloud in the form of an angel and a voice. The phenomenon caused a lull in the fighting and the German army to retreat in disorder, thus allowing the British and their allies time to escape, re-group and dig trenches. This was widely reported in the newspapers of the day and became known as the Angels of Mons. Most of these accounts seem to have been given to nurses in hospitals, or later to family members, the men explaining that they did not want to make official reports, for fear of being thought insane and shot.

I came across this video of outstandingly beautiful music by the composer Patrick Hawes, to commemorate the Angels of Mons and there's a little bit with the daughter of a soldier who saw one of the manifestations.

Today, in our secular and cynical world, these accounts have largely been left out of the history books, but even back then, people were divided in their opinions, some saying that this phenomena could be explained by extreme fatigue, hallucinations, mass hysteria and the publication (after the first sightings) of a work of fiction or as deliberate propaganda to boost the morale of the troops; but that doesn't explain how a poorly armed force stopped a far superior, better armed and three times larger army, or the moral and spiritual transformation and the new courage and inspiration to face the years ahead that many of the men experienced as a result of seeing the angels.

Here are some fairly recent observations:

"An employee of the author's grandfather was totally convinced that he had seen the angel; and although before the war he was known as a man over-fond of hard-drink, after Mons he became not only teetotal but a pillar of the community, apparently for no other reason that what he claimed to have experienced on the retreat." (Philip J Haythornthwaite, The World War One Source Book <a class="go2wpf-bbcode" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="1992)">1992)

Even the Western Front Association admit on their website: “If the self-professed numbers of eyewitnesses are to be believed - and even recently centenarian ex-Great War soldiers were seen on television still telling their stories of personally seeing the Angel of Mons - these events certainly happened…” (they go on to explain that it was probably mass hysteria)

I also came across a discussion forum where this was the topic a few years ago. The writer had done hours of research in the Imperial War Museum to help a friend with his book on the angels, but also: "... because I had a personal interest in the story. My Uncle Billy was in the Royal Munster Fusiliers and had actually witnessed the angelic phenomenon!"

...I can not say without a doubt that angels appeared that day....I wasn't there. However, I heard the eye-witness account of my Uncle Billy, and I can say without a doubt that he believed absolutely that he saw Saint Michael the Archangel there at Mons, and that St Michael had everything to do with their survival." From: Irish soldiers and the Angel of Mons

I've just come back in because the video led me to another titled "Spirits of War: War Angels of Mons" and one of the comments below it was this, from a lady called Dianne:

"I believe 'The Angels of Mons' to be a true event. Some 28 years ago I worked very briefly in an old peoples home for three weeks, aged 21.
During this time I helped care for a lovely dear gentleman, around 80 years old. On my last shift I went to say goodbye to him. He took hold of my hand and looked at me with such an intensity and told me of his story of The Angels of Mons, a story which I have never forgot.
'I was there and I saw them. They came down and saved us. Don't ever let anyone tell you it didn't happen because I saw them they saved us. Don't you forget this story and you tell them I saw them, they saved us.'
He was so intense and genuinely pleading, that I should remember this story. I know he was telling the truth."

This has inspired me to research the many dozens of testimonies in the Christian Science periodicals of World War 1, containing remarkable experiences of protection through prayer (didn't find any specific Angels of Mons ones though.) Several men lived moment by moment with the 91st Psalm and found protection, not only for themselves, but everyone around them. Today, when so many people around the world are also facing great danger and may be overtaken by a sense of fear and hopelessness, it is good to be reminded that there is an answer and that answer comes through turning to God in prayer.

Love and peace,

Judy

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Charis
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Talking of the 1914 Christmas truce, as this thread was, I've just learned something that was almost airbrushed out of history: there was also, in some areas of the front, a Christmas truce in 1915. British army officers tried to prevent this second truce from happening and claimed officially that it never did, but several accounts from soldiers still exist — including this diary by Private Robert Keating, which has recently been donated to a Welsh military archive:

[url]1915 WW1 diary gives account of second Christmas truce[/url]

Here's an excerpt from the article with quotes from Keating's diary:

Keating also explains how British soldiers shouted greetings to the German soldiers "over the way" on the morning of Christmas Day.

Then, when they saw them standing on their parapets, they decided to greet them and "chatted about old England" despite shouts from an officer to return.

Keating goes on to say that their German counterparts said they "were absolutely fed up" and believed "the war would end in a few months in our favour".

Later, he tells how a senior officer "came round the trenches and told every fellow to shoot any German he saw" but "no one took any notice".

Then, on Christmas evening, after a "good supply" of rum had been commandeered, he explains how he was roused from his shelter to find Scots Guards and RWF, now known as the Royal Welsh, clustered around a "burning brazier" on top of a parapet.

He writes: "The Germans were sending up star lights and singing - they stopped, so we cheered them and we began singing Land of Hope and Glory and Men of Harlech et cetera - we stopped and they cheered us.

"So we went on till the early hours of the morning and the only thing that brought us down was one of our machine guns being turned on us - fortunately, no one was killed."

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Thanks Charis,

So good to hear that despite official orders, the spirit of peace and goodwill still managed to break through at Christmas!

Love and peace,

Judy

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The second half of Good Morning Sunday yesterday was dedicated to the first day of the Somme battles - the terrible day when the men went "over the top" and 19,240 died on that very first day. Calre Balding had two very interesting interviews - one with Martin Purdy of Harp and a Monkey (wonderful music). Martin, apart from being a talented musician, is also a WW1 historian and I was grateful to hear him say how important the role that faith played in the war. It's worth listening to the whole second half - drag the slider along to just past one hour:

The next segment was the moving story of the [url]19240 Shrouds of the Somme[/url], (just 12 minutes) which is an outdoor exhibition in Exeter from the 1st of July for a week. This is a photo of Rob Heard, the artist, with the shrouds: He said that as awesome as the Tower Poppies were - the rivers of blood, yet they were not individual humans and his whole philosophy is that we should never forget the horror and futility of war, but should honour those who gave their lives for our future.

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I came across an article today titled “The Bible and World War One”

These excerpts are from it:

The Bible was a defining influence on British culture across class divides. From the public school to the Sunday school, from art and music to political debate, the Bible was in the blood of British people….

When war broke out on 4 August 1914, every member of the British Armed Forces received a New Testament as a standard part of his kit: uniform, gun, boots, Bible….

But for most soldiers the Bible represented something familiar and reliable. It gave hope and consolation during times of extreme suffering. It was a link with home, happiness, the past and a longed-for future….

‘There is no other book that was as widely owned or read in the trenches,’ says Dr Snape.

‘It is hard to understand British society at the time of World War One if you subtract the Bible from it.’

Dr Michael Snape, Reader in Religion, War and Society at the University of Birmingham.

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Watching the moving remembrance ceremonies in the UK and in Thiepval, northern France tonight (the first day of the Somme battles on July 1st 1916) I was reminded of a very precious book that survived a bombardment and was given to me by the sister of one of our Tommies.

When World War 1 began, The Christian Science Mother Church in Boston Mass. provided tiny sets of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (a book which unlocks the healing and protecting power of the Bible) that the soldiers could fit into their breast pockets.

The tiny suede WWI Science and Health was given to a dear lady I once knew, called Vera, by her brother. Vera and Len Medlock moved to Surrey from Frinton-on-Sea so their nephew could look after them in their old age, but he sadly died and then Len did. I became quite close to Vera and when she eventually moved to a nursing home back in Essex I visited her there a few times.

During one of my visits, she asked me to open a drawer and take out the tiny book, wrapped in tissue paper. She said she didn't want the Science and Health to remain in the nursing home, as if anything happened to her she has no family left and the staff would simply throw this tatty old book out. So she gave it to me to take care of. She told me what she could remember of the story and I wrote it down. She thought that a testimony had been published in the Christian Science periodicals, but I’ve not found it.

Her brother’s name was Ernest Robert Dawson and he signed up when he was only 17 before he'd finished school, which greatly upset his mother. Communications were very poor in those days and the family knew nothing of his injuries until they were contacted by a hospital up in Lancashire saying that he was dying of his injuries and to come immediately.

They learnt later that he had been struck by a shell and his arm had been blown off. He would have been killed but for the fact that he had this little suede set of the two books in his uniform pocket, over his heart. The Bible was shattered, but the Science and Health under it survived intact. He laid unconscious for quite some time and was assumed to be dead, but something happened (she couldn’t remember) which was quite miraculous and he was found and picked up by some nuns and eventually shipped home, but never regained consciousness. He had blood poisoning I think and death was imminent. Because of this, the hospital left him in filthy stained sheets and didn't shave him.

When the family got this call, the father rushed up north by train. A Christian Science practitioner (healer) called Mrs Sherwal was contacted and she came to the house late at night and asked them to all kneel and pray together. Vera was only six at the time but remembered it clearly. When Mrs Sherwal left she asked them to let her know what time the healing took place.

The father arrived at the hospital the following morning and was told that his son was in a corner. He saw a bearded man sitting up and waving at him and grinning and asked where his son was. The young man said "Father, it's me". (Expecting to see him in a coma and also because of the filth and the beard, he hadn't recognised him) When the hospital was asked at what time he regained consciousness it was exactly the time the family knelt in prayer together.

When Ernest came home he gave it to Vera and wrote a rather formal dedication to her at the front (which I wish I’d written down.) I often stroked that tatty old suede book and thought of the adventures it had and of the remarkable story around it. I’ve since passed it onto the daughter of a friend for safe-keeping.

I didn’t take a photo of it, but here is a page of more WW1 memories, including a Bible embedded with shrapnel, which also saved a soldier’s life.

Here’s another Bible that saved a life:

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As today is Armistice Day, I am particularly remembering all the men who died a hundred years ago during the battles of the Somme, including my father’s cousin Vesey. We visited his grave and a few of the hundreds of battlefields and cemeteries in France and Belgium last month. It’s a very sobering experience, but I really want to try to understand it all more and to return.

The beauty of the cemeteries is hard to describe, especially those in the Somme, surrounded by farmland and woods. Everywhere the birds are singing. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission do astounding work in caring for 23,000 cemeteries and memorials in 154 countries. They are immaculate, even those 100 years old, with precise edges to the grass and planted with flowers, shrubs and trees that will make the visiting families feel at home and comforted. They are memorial gardens as well as cemeteries.

Vesey was buried in an English cemetery, which had been beside a casualty station. The grave stones were Portland stone and had the gorgeous floribunda rose Remembrance, which looked very much like poppies, plus low shrubs for colour throughout the year. The Canadian memorials and cemeteries we saw had maple trees. Here’s a [url]newspaper article[/url] about the gardeners. We were told that many of them have been caring for the same plots for generations and it’s a true labour of love for them.

Everywhere we went, it was so apparent how much the French and Belgium people feel the debt of gratitude to the men and women from all corners of the world – Africa, Australia, Canada, India, Newfoundland, New Zealand, USA, (and any I’ve left out) who gave their lives in both world wars to liberate them. My sister was visiting a friend in a little village in Holland a few years ago and it was the day of their annual parade marking the day the British liberated them in WW2. As soon as people learnt she was English, they were coming up and shaking her hand, thanking her!

There were European schoolchildren at all the museums and memorials, learning about the past – and hopefully strengthening their resolve never to let such horror happen again in Western Europe. The last post at the [url]Menin Gate [/url]in Ypres was very moving. It’s been held every single evening since 1928, (except when it was occupied by the Germans during WW2) Representatives from different countries and battalions take part every night at 8pm. The traffic is stopped at 7,30 and a hush comes upon the place. We were astounded – it was just a normal wet Tuesday night and yet, there were hundreds and hundreds of people there, paying their respects to the fallen, including bus loads of school children sitting on the cold cobbles waiting for it to start. The Buglers of the Last Post and the firemen of Ypres are there every night.

This was made by a Canadian group and gives some of the atmosphere leading up to it, but shows the middle and the end and doesn’t include the saying of the immortal words:

[INDENT]“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”
[/INDENT]

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This was a poignant video to find today:

Leonard Cohen recites “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

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An apology. When I mentioned the countries who took part in the First World War – I neglected to name the obvious. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales (in alphabetical order so as not to offend anyone). 😉

This is a list of ALL the countries (on both sides) who were involved in that war – though some only declared war and did not see any action.

A surprising player in the war that I only learnt about while we were in the Somme, was China. Chinese labourers were sent to France to dig trenches initially, but ended up doing many needed jobs, with practically no recognition.

The first world war pitted the allied powers, including Britain, France and Russia, against the Central Powers, including Germany and the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian empires. Years into fighting, the male populations were depleted. Soldiers were hunkered in trenches carved into the countryside of Europe. The allies needed help, and it came from China.

Chinese workers dug trenches. They repaired tanks in Normandy. They assembled shells for artillery. They transported munitions in Dannes. They unloaded supplies and war material in the port of Dunkirk. They ventured farther afield, too. Graves in Basra, in southern Iraq, contain remains of hundreds of Chinese workers who died carrying water for British troops in an offensive against the Ottoman Empire.

Bi joined hundreds of thousands of Chinese men, mostly from the countryside, to help Britain, France and the other members of the Entente win the war that toppled the empires of Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans and Germany.

The story of the largest and longest-serving non-European labour contingent in the war has largely been forgotten but is slowly being rediscovered a century later.

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The Shrouds of the Somme exhibition in July has now moved to Bristol Cathedral for a few days. It is overwhelming in its scale - and that was only one day.

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[QUOTE="scommstech, post: 728051, member: 29352"]I was on You Tube a couple of days ago, reading an article when something in the comments caught my eye. Some one had added their comments and also told of an American company, regiment or such called the 91st, who saw action in France during WW I. They got this name because their commanding officer got them to read the 91st Psalm daily. The writer went on to talk of an engagement where other American troops had losses but this 91st lot had non.
I have no idea if this is true but it certainly made me think.

Hi Scomm,

You must wonder why I've resurrected this post of yours - it's because I just came across something about it. Also, with Nov 11th coming up in a couple of weeks time, I've been thinking about all those unselfish men who were prepared to give their lives so we would have peace and freedom (though in the case of WW1, that freedom didn't last long).

I was looking up the 91st Psalm and stories of protection, when I came across this 2003 archive. I tried emailing the author with my finding, but it bounced back.

This is the link.[url] THE TRUTH ABOUT THE 91ST PSALM[/url]
(Actually, it should be called, "The truth about Colonel Whittlesey and the non-existant 91st Brigade")
I like this from the blog:

How do I feel at this point about the little book, "Psalm 91: The Ultimate Shield"? It is awesome! I now have a copy in my purse, but it is not the book that brings me comfort, but my perceived truth of the Psalm.

And I love the story of the 91st Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Expeditionary Army and WWI. I really wanted it to be true.

A friend of mine asked me why I was so bent on trying to prove or disprove it. "It's a good story. Why can't you just leave it alone?" he asked.

Truth, even in its purest state, can be so very hard to recognize. Even when we think we catch a glimpse of the real thing, we often find it to be ever so elusive. I suppose I was born searching for truth. In death, I fully expect to continue my quest.

I do think our faith grows with the hearing and telling of good stories. I just want to know, as far as it is humanly possibly to know, that the stories I hear and tell are true. Is that too much to ask?

I've ordered the book and look forward to reading it. I had always thought I would compile a book of Psalm 91 experiences myself one day, (having had my own 91st Psalm flying experience.) I was inspired with Hope Price's book "Angels, True Stories of How They Touch Our Lives."

To return to what I feel is a possible explanation for this myth. I have since found a Lieutenant Colonel Charles White Whittlesey, who led the "Lost Battalion" in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October 1918 during the final stages of World War I, but he was in the 77th Division, 308th Battalion, not the 91st and his Battalion suffered heavy losses, so it was not him.

However, Chaplain Arthur C. Whitney was part of the 91st Division (not Infantry Brigade). He was assigned to the 346th Regiment Infantry of it. The 91st Division as a whole suffered terrible losses, and to quote the blog above:
It was taken out of the line to rest and regroup, and in late October, 1918 was sent to Flanders with the 37th Division of the AEF to fight the final weeks of the war under King Albert of Belgium. Their total casualties were about 6,100 men including 1,454 killed."

Chaplain, Arthur C. Whitney (did his name eventually become Whittlesey through illegible handwriting or was there a confusion with the real Whittlesey?) was sent to the Army School near Langres, France, and with the 91st Division, saw active service in Belgium, assisting the British, French and Belgium armies, under the command of the King of Belgium. Mercifully I have discovered that I don't need to copy, word for word the account from the Captain of his regiment, about the great assistance to morale that Chaplain Whitney provided as it was reproduced in the Christian Science periodicals, but with his name left out.

You can read the grateful letter from the commanding officer during the battle of Lys-Scheldte from the link below and this was included in it and I wonder whether that could have been the source of what appears to be a rather exaggerated myth:
The chaplain stayed with me throughout the engagement in the front line, and I am glad to say, my company did not suffer a single casualty;
[url]Extracts from Letters [/url]

It was good to note in the book "Christian Science Wartime Activities" that Marshall Petain, Commander-in Chief of the French Armies issued the following citation:

Chaplain Arthur C. Whitney, 346 Regiment infantry near Waereghem, Belgium, October 31st 1918, placed himself at the head of the company and marched with it to the reserved positions. By his courageous works and his coolness he aided in keeping good order among this troop"

and "The official record of the regiment mentions the incident as 'one of the most deadly shellings which the regiment sustained'. For this service the French Government awarded Chaplain Whitney the Croix de Guerre with bronze star."

Arthur C. Whitney was a Christian Science practitioner (healer) and teacher and became a lecturer during WW2. Hopefully I have cleared up the mysterious story about the 91st Division who all survived by praying with the 91st Psalm every day. Clearly not true, but there were elements of it in one or more battles of its 346th Regiment. As to whether Chaplain Whitney gave all the men a copy of the 91st Psalm and asked them to memorise it and pray with it every day I can't confirm, but hey, it's possible! :p

So many other testimonies I have included here, mention praying with the 91st Psalm and also often say that neither they nor their men were harmed.

Love and peace,

Judy

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Gosh, four years ago I started this thread to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. And here we are approaching the end - Armistice Day, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Yes, 11-11-1918

I'm probably going to share a couple more of those wonderful experiences of protection through prayer I have shared throughout, but meanwhile, I thought you'd enjoy these videos of
"Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers"





Love and peace,

Judy

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Only a couple of days now to Armistice Day when the guns fell silent after four years of sheer hell.

I’ve been looking through the hundreds of accounts I have access to of testimonies from soldiers who wrote into the Christian Science periodicals with the gratitude for protection and healing they experienced during the war and will share a couple for the very last battles. First though, of all the accounts I’ve read, none comes close to this very intimate personal letter to a friend, from the front. It’s very long and much of it discusses that weeks’ Bible Lesson that we study daily (and which constitutes our sermon on Sundays) I’ll just share my favourite bits and give the link to it so you could read all of it if you like.

[url]Truth's Sustaining Power[/url]
I researched some of the British writers of these testimonies (and letters) and this is what I found out about Reginald Carlile Lavery, the writer of the letter below:
Address: Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Regiment or Corps: Shropshire Light Infantry, Welsh Regiment
Regimental Number: 12927

I SUPPOSE that in a letter from the front you will expect to hear something about the war, but I am going to write about something of far more importance than the material side of the war; in fact I am going to write about something which makes war, even when you are in the thick of it, appear foolish and unreal, despite the so-called horrors which material sense tries to tell us are so apparent.

After a few months' experience of the conditions out here, I think a good many people came to the conclusion that there is only one thing worth living for, only one thing worth thinking about, and that is God.

When you see great trees snapped off like a twig and hurled yards, when you see a whole house demolished by a single shell, when you see a great rent which would hold a thousand men torn in the ground by a mine, you begin to wonder what power there is in matter to help one to escape such destruction, and of course there is no power in the material world to help a man who is in such a strait. That is the turning point, when men turn from matter to Spirit, and man's extremity becomes God's opportunity. Above the mighty thunderings comes as the sound of many waters the unchallenged declaration, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth." What a blessing to know that it is impossible for a man to be in any conceivable circumstance where God cannot help him, because if we do think this we are believing in a power opposed to God…

It has been my privilege on many occasions, when right in the midst of these mighty thunderings, to be able to realize my at-one-ment with God, and so be conscious of that peace which passes human understanding. I cannot describe this peace, but it brings that calm and exalted thought which is undisturbed by all the testimony of the material senses. Sufficient is it for me to know that I always have it so long as I am conscious of that Mind "which was also in Christ Jesus,"—always conscious of good, there is no need to fear. These promises from the Bible mean everything to me: "Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee." "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."…

This describes him being able to stay cheerful and lift his men's spirits, despite spending days in water above their knees and sometimes up to their waists!

It is not always an easy path; very often there are swift currents to battle against, dark caves of mortal thought with all kinds of dangers and temptations lurking in the corners, high mountains of material sense to climb and overcome; but, whatever we may meet on this journey, we can rest assured that we will not meet anything which Christ Jesus has not met before us. "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." One cannot give too much importance to the words, "be of good cheer." If there is one thing which smashes the seeming reality of evil, it is cheerfulness; not the cheerfulness derived from material pleasures, which vanishes with the first approach of trouble, but the cheerfulness which is the outcome of high ideals and good works. This cheerfulness shines on as a beacon light, although perhaps surrounded by the most appalling human conditions.

I remember during the winter months in the trenches toward the end of last year, and before we were equipped with the gum boots, we were days in the front line with the mud and water above our knees, and sometimes almost up to our waists; but amidst all this I was able to keep my mind so filled with thoughts of Truth and Love that I was hardly conscious of the material surroundings, and so was able to keep cheerful not only myself, but those about me as well…

Can't believe they didn't have gum (Wellington) boots all through that war! They had first been made out of rubber in France in 1853 and were a popular gift from home, so there's no excuse, but I guess until it started raining no-one thought about the need.

I was watching a programme the other night which included the Battle of Passchendaele, when craters were filled with water and mud and many men drowned. They showed a map, where a place was marked "Hell Fire Corner" I wondered whether it was the same place that Reginald Lavery was describing in such a beautiful way.

There is a place on a well-known road here that leads to the trenches, which is called "Hell Fire Corner." Well, when we are in—we have to pass this corner every night on fatigues and working parties. They always shell this corner some time during the night, and you do not know what second the shells are coming. When I get near this place, instead of thinking of it in this way and expecting shells every second, I always think of it as "Love's Corner," as I know Love is there as much as in any other place in the world; and there is no more of God in one place than another, as He fills all space; therefore there are no dangerous places for God's idea.

I'll add a couple more testimonies up till Sunday the 11th and then I think that will be a good time to end this thread.

Love and peace,

Judy

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Thank you Judy for my lesson in gratitude and humility. I had no awareness until now!

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Thanks so much Zandalee, that's beautiful.

It is humbling to read these accounts. Especially after visiting the Somme in 2016 to honour my Father's young cousin who died there, I have felt very close to all these dear men. All the divisions over Brexit in the UK at this time sadden so much, when there is this unbreakable link between all the countries of mainly young men laying down their lives in the name of freedom (clearer in WW2, than WW1 i admit) and being buried in foreign soil.

In the CS archives, we have accounts from all over Britain, Europe, South Africa, Canada and of course, the United States - everyone coming together. Two of my favourites are the German testimonies on this post:

As I was going to the front, this serious question confronted me: "What stand shall I take toward my opponent during the battle?" The answer was the simple statement: made by Mrs. Eddy in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 9): "'Love thine enemies' is identical with 'Thou hast no enemies.'" It became clear to me that if I had no enemies I would never be placed in a position where I would have to defend myself against them or be compelled to injure them. With this firm assurance I departed, not to the war, but to work in the vineyard of the Lord. And this assurance was not in vain, for, although I was in the front line and had to patrol far into enemy territory, I was never placed in the position where it was necessary to use weapons...."

"None of my men, during the whole time they were under my command, were killed, wounded, or captured…"
Oskar Seitz, Braunschweig, Germany.
[url]With a grateful and happy heart...[/url]

So special.

Love and peace,

Judy

PS And Zandalee, I would say you have more awareness than anyone I know! 🙂

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Thanks so much Zandalee, that's beautiful.

It is humbling to read these accounts. Especially after visiting the Somme in 2016 to honour my Father's young cousin who died there, I have felt very close to all these dear men. All the divisions over Brexit in the UK at this time sadden so much, when there is this unbreakable link between all the countries of mainly young men laying down their lives in the name of freedom (clearer in WW2, than WW1 i admit) and being buried in foreign soil.

In the CS archives, we have accounts from all over Britain, Europe, South Africa, Canada and of course, the United States - everyone coming together. Two of my favourites are the German testimonies on this post:

So special.

Love and peace,

Judy

PS And Zandalee, I would say you have more awareness than anyone I know! 🙂

Hi Judy
Those German testimonies are profound. I wonder how many people who wear a poppy think about the losses and the suffering inflicted on the Germans.
I wonder if they have a remembrance day also, because they lost brothers and husbands too, and if a Tommy and a German were to change uniforms I'll bet that you couldn't say who was who.

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Judy, thank you! I try to stay open minded and keep my heart full of wonder. I am finding as the aging process has taken on my body and brain that has been some really good aspects one of those becoming more open and less bitter! The suffering that is happening in the world and in the past has made me realize we as humans need to be more forgiving than less!

Judy your post as many others really brighten my day and always reminds me I need to continue to learn. Thanks you and continue to share your finding with us. Helps us stay aware!

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Hello again lovely people. You are so right Scomm, there is no difference between soldiers - or anyone. We were watching a programme about the end of WW1 and how the Allies (especially the French) humiliated Germany (which directly led to WW2). I remember going through all the beautiful cemeteries on the Somme and in Belgium - all those rows of shining white gravestones. Not for the Germans. They were dumped in mass graves with plain black crosses - they even carried on the revenge towards the dead. So tragic.

The German people have had a heavy burden of guilt on their shoulders for decades (especially because of all the evils of Nazism) and their commemorations are very low key - more families honouring their dead. It was so good to see Macron and Merkel together at the site of the signing of the Armistice today. Europe has come a long way since those dark days.

I have always loved those war time testimonies which mention kindnesses towards those considered enemies. I wish I had marked them - I've been looking through the archives during the past few days and trawling through dozens and dozens of testimonies - found a couple more mentions of the brotherhood of mankind during WW1:

[url]In the year 1917 I took part in two battles in the Ypres...[/url]

I used to pray quite earnestly that our soldiers should be blessed with fine weather. This thought was confided to an older student, [of CS] who said very lovingly, "What we want to work for is one atmosphere." It did not take me long to realize that if we worked for one atmosphere the enemy would breathe it too, and in an atmosphere of Love there would be nothing to fight about.
C. Bassett Burke, West Krugersdorp, Transvaal, South Africa
August 6, 1927 Christian Science Sentinel


[url]To one in a seafaring life the sustaining...[/url]

So complete and dependable was the divine protection afforded through the study of Christian Science that every ship in the convoy under my command reached port in safety after four stormy days in the European submarine zone. The destroyer escort did not join our command until within four hours of our destination, but "everlasting arms of Love" were "beneath, around, above" — no other defense was needed.

On another occasion a submarine was sunk very close to our course within an hour of the time we left port. Fully half of its personnel could not swim, but divine Love was so clearly on the scene that the American officers and men were able to rescue "all hands," some going overboard in the cold water to drag their erstwhile opponents to safety. The commanding officer of the submarine expressed his hearty thanks.
William King Riddle,Captain, U. S. Navy (Retired), New York, New York.
February 1940 Christian Science Journal

And though these below were from WW2, I thought they were rather sweet. Christian Science was the first religion/denomination to be banned by Hitler - I think he knew it was the antidote to Nazism. Our churches were closed, all books and literature was banned and our practitioners (healers) were sent to concentration camps.

[url]I should like to express my... [/url] WW2 German soldier captured by the Americans

[url]A German soldier was reading over my shoulder[/url]

Love and peace,

Judy

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Ever since the centenary of the beginning of WW1, in August 2014, I have been looking for accounts of how people were protected through prayer - and my especial interest is in the 91st Psalm. I even wrote to a Jewish museum back there and asked if they knew of any experiences, but didn't have a reply. I am absolutely sure that such records do exist, but they are probably in books and church magazines that aren't yet searchable online, like the Christian Science archives are. If anyone reading this knows of some experiences, please share them here!

I keep looking and have found these two interesting pages. The first one ends with Edith Cavell and then the Christmas Truce, both of which have been mentioned in this thread.

[url]Stories of chivalry and compassion WW1 [/url]

[url]The Salvation Army goes to war[/url]

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Last night while I was watching the Festival of Remembrance coming from the Albert Hall and seeing all three branches of military service, I realised that I had been concentrating on the men in the trenches, when of course the Navy and The Royal Flying Corps (part of the army) and Royal Naval Air Service also played a large part. Both air services merged on the 1st April 1918, towards the end of the war.

So here is a flying account:

[url]In August, 1915, while in the trenches in France, I..." [/url]

After my healing I entered the Air Force, and when my training as an observer was completed I again went to France. Here I experienced much wonderful protection, an instance of which I should like to relate. I was sent out on a bombing raid to blow up a certain strategic point, and on the way there I began to fill my thought with the promises in the Bible and the textbook, which were in my pocket, and to realize in some measure the presence of God. The job was done and we were on our way back, when five enemy planes descended on us. My gun was put out of action almost at once, and in a short time it was virtually impossible to put a hand on the aeroplane where there was no bullet hole. Certain vital wires had been cut through, leaving only one strand intact. It was indeed "man's extremity." I stood up to protect the pilot, without whose work we could not get home. The words from a section of the Lesson-Sermon in the Christian Science Quarterly for that week came clearly to my thought (Science and Health, p. 571): "Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you." At once a most uplifting sense came to me. The presence of God seemed everywhere in spite of the fact that bullets were flying all around us. I thought, "If my body is riddled with bullets and we crash, my real selfhood cannot be touched." A great joy and peace filled my being, and I found no malice in my thought towards the enemy. Then, without more ado, the attackers turned and left us, as if they had lost sight of us. Though in a perilous state, with smoke coming from the machine, we reached home and leaped out, whereupon the plane burst into flames. Neither of us had been hit, and the pilot remarked that, strange to say, he had not experienced any fear whatsoever, and that the whole affair was a miracle.

William Wadsworth Porter, Upper Kennington Lane, London SE
July 13, 1940, Christian Science Sentinel



And a Naval account:

[url]With deep gratitude I give this... [/url]

…I was taking a large convoy of troops from the United States, and stores for the army in Flanders to London. Having passed the Scilly Islands and altered course up channel I left the bridge and went below to turn in, my cabin being below the bridge. It was a calm, dark summer's night, and the phosphorescence lighting up the bows and sterns of the ships could be clearly seen for several miles with night glasses. The enemy's wireless had been heard before dark, and the officer of the watch remarked as I went below that it was a perfect night for an attack. Just before turning in I thought I would go up again and have another look round, when clearly the thought came to me, Would this be "trust" as you have learned it in Christian Science? Within a few minutes I was aroused by a knock at my door and was informed that the phosphorescent track of a torpedo breaking surface was clearly visible passing our stern. I was up on the bridge at once and, seeing that the torpedo was missing the sterns of the leading line of ships, I waited until it had time to get clear of the convoy, and then altered the course of the convoy towards land. This necessitated firing a rocket and switching on lights, which would point our new direction to the attacker, and sooner or later this altering of course must be repeated, as the convoy was heading for the shore. Now occurred a wonderful thing. Orders for a new direction had been given and I was about to give the order for the rocket to be fired and lights switched on when the officer of the watch reported a white fog bank close up behind the rear ships of the convoy. I saw that this would completely screen the convoy from the pursuer and gave orders for the alteration of course to take place. The convoy was safely off on its new course and unobserved. The remainder of the night was peaceful. The fog bank had given us our protection and my trust had been answered clearly. This was by no means my first answered prayer.

Rear Admiral John Fenwick Warton, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

The Christian Science Journal December 1934

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If anyone wants to get a really graphic idea of what it was like being in the trenches during WW1, just watch the BBC film, "They shall not grow old", - you need a strong stomach for much of it. The old silent black and white film has been coloured and lip readers employed to find out what they were saying, plus there were many interviews with the veterans.(FOr those of you in the UK, you have until Sat 17th Nov to watch it)

There is a scene in it where mounted soldiers are attacked and the horses injured and killed and it made me think about all the poor animals who were also sent to war.

There is a wonderful [url]statue of a war horse[/url], called Poppy on the roundabout near Ascot racecourse. I'm so glad the animals are being remembered too

[url]Who were the real war horses of WW1?[/url]

[url]The animal victims of the first world war are a stain on our conscience.[/url]

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Almost there...

About 4 years ago, Scomm told us about the story he'd heard (which turned out to be a myth) of an American Lieutenant Colonel of the 91st Division, who gave all his men the 91st Psalm and ordered them to pray with it every day and there were no casualties. Not true. The 91st Div had heavy casualties.

However, after extensive detective work, I discovered this Christian Science Chaplain, who seems to fit the bill (except we don't know whether the 91st Psalm was given to all the men!) Marshall Petain, Commander-in Chief of the French Armies issued the following citation:

Chaplain Arthur C. Whitney, 346 Regiment infantry near Waereghem, Belgium, October 31st 1918, placed himself at the head of the company and marched with it to the reserved positions. By his courageous works and his coolness he aided in keeping good order among this troop"

...For this service the French Government awarded Chaplain Whitney the Croix de Guerre with bronze star."

The 346th regiment was part of the 91st Division.

The order of battle of the French Army of Belgium, October 30, 1918, from north to south, was as follows: ...the 91st Division holding a front of about four kilometers, extending from Waereghem (inclusive) to Steenbrugge (exclusive).
The division left the eighth area, Sept. 6, 1918, and from Sept. 11th to 14th constituted a part of the reserves in the St. Mihiel offensive, moving thence to the northwest of Verdun, where it took part in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, Sept. 26th... On Oct. 19th, the division passed to the command of the King of Belgium. From Oct. 31st to Nov. 4th, the division, under the direction of the French Army in Belgium, took part in the Lys-Scheldt offensive west of the Escaut (Scheldt) river in the vicinity of Audenarde. Nov. 10th and 11th, took part in the Lys-Scheldt offensive east of the Escaut (Scheldt) river in the vicinity of Audenarde.

Now this below sounds like it was Chaplain Whitney, (the Chaplain wasn't named) as well as the other account, where again, he's not named.

[url]Christian Science came to me...[/url]

When the situation seemed more than it was possible for human beings to stand, the chaplain told me to repeat to myself these words: "God is my strength, God is my guide, God is my protection." In the face of the most chaotic conditions, this brought me a peace of mind that I cannot describe. I became conscious of God's presence—I seemed to be treading on air and felt positively buoyant. Gunnar A. Pande, Forest Hills, Long Island, New York.
June 1931 Christian Science Journal

This is part of the anonymous letter from the officer (probably Pande again) who said at the end, "The chaplain stayed with me throughout the engagement in the front line, and I am glad to say, my company did not suffer a single casualty"

[url]Extracts from Letters[/url]

I deem it my duty and still a great pleasure to write regarding the splendid work of the Christian Scientist chaplain assigned to our division. He was attached to our regiment just before the battle of the Lys-Scheldte, and went into action with my company voluntarily. It is such an unusual sight to see a chaplain with front line troops that his presence caused considerable favorable comment among the officers and men of the company. The chaplain marched with me at the head of my company through heavy shell fire when we marched into position for the attack. His calm and encouraging remarks helped materially to steady the men, and, I am frank to say, caused me to feel a security and confidence that I have never felt under fire before... the chaplain suggested that I repeat the following to myself: 'God is my guide, God is my strength, God is my protection.' I followed his advice, and when the situation seemed particularly difficult found a great deal of peace and security in those simple phrases. I soon began to understand that God's law was operating, and it dawned on me that His presence on the battle field was as certain as the moonlight which lighted our way.

And to continue with his letter - this seems like the perfect place to close this thread on the 11th day of the 11th month 1918

Later I was ordered to take my company across the Scheldte and relieve a certain French organization to our front. The chaplain insisted on being with the company, even thought I told him how dangerous our task was. We passed through the French first line and, with the company deployed as skirmishers over a seven hundred yard front, advanced to a village eight hundred yards beyond. We took this village under heavy machine gun and shell fire and drove out fifty of the enemy machine gunners. The chaplain stayed with me throughout the engagement in the front line, and I am glad to say, my company did not suffer a single casualty; divine Providence guided us safely to our position and we received word that any further advance would be postponed. The following morning as we were forming for the attack, we received information that the armistice had been signed...

"The following morning as we were forming for the attack, we received information that the armistice had been signed..."

Well it's almost midnight, but I've made my deadline of finishing this thread on Armistice Day.

Love and peace,

Judy

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Judy
Your posts are truly inspirational. It is always a pleasure to read them. The effort that you must put into research is phenomenal.

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Thanks Scomm. It's the least I can do as a tribute to all those who were willing to lay down their lives. "For their tomorrow, we gave our today."

Blessings,

Judy

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